Weight Lifting Belts: To Wear or Not to Wear

Do you need a weight lifting belt?
 Gym folklore says wearing a weight belt increases lower
back safety. It also says weight belts increase abdominal pressure,
which allows you to lift more weight. Let’s see if this is true.


Stuart McGill. Author of Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance & Low
 Back Disorders. Stuart McGill is the authority on lower back health. He
 has several articles on his site for those who haven’t his books yet.

One article deals with the use of weight belts. It’s adapted from the
chapter on back belts in Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance. Click
here to download this free pdf. View the file with Acrobat Reader.


Do You Need Weight Belts? If you don’t feel like reading the whole pdf,
here are some of the key points of Stuart McGill’s research.

    If you never injured your back, wearing a belt adds no safety.
    If you injure yourself while wearing a belt, the injury is more
severe.
    To get the most out of weight belts, you must lift with bad
technique.
    If you want to lift a few more pounds, wear a weight belt.


Why I Never Recommend Weight Belts. Guy subscribes to a gym. Does Biceps
 Curls like the other guys. Gets stronger. Hyper-extends his back on
each rep to get even stronger. Gets lower back pain.

He wears a belt upon recommendation of the gym people. No more pain.
Back to curls, but still hyper-extending his back. Pain comes back, but
worse. Doctor diagnoses him with a hernia. Weight lifting gets bad
reputation again.

It was Biceps Curls, but it could have been Squats or Deadlifts. If you
don’t lift correctly, you’ll injure yourself. That’s why I don’t
recommend belts: they give a false sense of security. And according to
McGill, injuries get more severe.


Choosing Your Weight Belt. You’ll need a weight belt to perform Weighted
 Dips/Pull-ups/Chin-ups. I use a leather belt with chain/caliper to
attach the weight. Ironmind’s dipping belt handles up to 1000lbs (it
works for Pull-ups)

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